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January 13, 2001

Jim Furyk


LEE PATTERSON: Jim, 12 under par, wonderful position as we head into the final round tomorrow.

JIM FURYK: I don't know about wonderful, but (laughter). Not bad position, four back from Rory. Seems like the scores kind of bunched up today. Other than Rory, nobody ran away too much. Vijay made a pretty good run. A few guys from behind made a good push, everyone stacked up at 8, 9, 10, 11-under par. I had a very mediocre day going, even par with five to play. I birdied four of the last five so I turned in what would have been a poor day into a pretty decent day and kept myself in contention with a shot to win the tournament. Pretty happy about the finish.

Q. Jim, does anything surprise you about golf? Ernie Els is a hell of a player, got this big lead, runs off a few birdies, the lead gets bigger. Next thing he finishes with bogey, double bogey. Tiger is eight shots out. Nothing seems to make sense.

JIM FURYK: Well, you know, really anything can happen in this game. Just when you think you've got it licked, you think nothing can go wrong, always seems to collapse and fold in on you. I guess in a way I'm not surprised. Goofy things happen out here in this game. Yeah, I'm surprised with Ernie having a big lead like that, he's a front-runner, a guy that when he gets ahead, he's difficult to catch. I know Rory ran off a bunch of birdies, holed his second shot on 16. Made a run, then had a bad finish. I'm a little surprised that it happened, but anything can happen in this game. Ernie might go out and birdie the first six tomorrow, you never know.

Q. You know this course well, played it a lot. Ernie obviously does. Same with Vijay. How would you expect someone like Rory, who has been here the first time, to be where he is?

JIM FURYK: I can only explain it one way: I won my first event here. I don't know. Everyone told me you couldn't play this course well the first time. I remember playing the Bay Course, shooting a good round down there. Someone said to me, "Wait till you are on the Planation tomorrow." I broke the course record the next day, only to have Davis break it about 15 minutes later. If a guy is playing well, if he's hitting the ball well, making some putts, there's still tee boxes, fairways and greens. You know where you want to hit it on this golf course. The course knowledge does help. It's good to maybe play a practice round here. When I go to a new course I haven't played before, I like to play with guys that have played the course before, watch them. You get to see three or four shots go out. Nice thing here, too, we played practice rounds in carts. You can hit a lot of balls off the tee, go out and collect the balls, instead of you and your caddie going around for a day. I don't like to hit a lot of shots in practice rounds because I hate chasing them down. If I could hit them all together, it would be nice. Doesn't always work that way. With all the walks out here, they'd have to have a lot of personnel during the practice rounds that they don't have. I'm assuming that's why we have carts, other than got a little fat over the holidays, a little tough to get around. It makes it easy to come out here early in the year, not really be on top of your game, hit a couple extra shots when you need, to chase them down in a cart, play in a relatively quick time.

Q. Do you think there's any connection with the fact that guys who are doing well here did play last week?

JIM FURYK: I didn't.

Q. You didn't, but a lot of them did.

JIM FURYK: There's definitely a connection. I think it's good to get on a roll. It's the beginning of the year. A lot of guys are spending time with their kids, their families. It was a tough trip to Australia, whether some guys chose to go or didn't. I wanted to go, was committed to go, and couldn't. A little different story. I think early in the year I like to kind of build one tournament on another. I definitely feel better February 1st than I do January 1st every year. I like to take a lot of December off. I normally spend Christmas in cold weather. This year I didn't because I hadn't played golf in months. I wanted to stay home. Whatever time I could practice, I wanted to.

Q. Also the guys who are not doing so well are talking about obviously the grain on the greens, the wind, the difficulty of putting these greens. Some people are making a lot of birdies. Is it how you putt more than the surface?

JIM FURYK: Well, some guys are really used to Bermuda greens and some guys aren't. I think there's a lot of different variables. Some weeks they go in, some weeks they don't. That's the difference between shooting 12-under and 4-under. You know, also some guys are really good at putting Bermuda greens. A guy like Paul Azinger, for instance, loves playing on Bermuda. He grew up on it. He loves playing on real grainy grass, whether it's the greens, the fairways. Where I grew up in the north, when I went down south for the first time and play, it was a big adjustment for me. I didn't understand grain. I tried to learn over the years. I've won actually a lot of my events on Bermuda. I think every tournament I won has had Bermuda fairways. Doral was overseeded maybe. It's unexplainable. I know the greens -- I will say one thing. With all the rain, not much wind today, the greens were a little more slower today. Probably cut to the same length, but they were a little sticky. I didn't adjust very well. Early in the round I had a very difficult time adjusting to the speed of the greens and really didn't make a lots of putts for the first 12 holes because I just did not hit them with the right speed. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the greens. I'm a professional golfer. I should learn to adjust. I just didn't do it very well.

Q. Winning the Doral the way you did, four strokes, no problem tomorrow?

JIM FURYK: It's up to Rory. If he goes out and fires an 8-under-par again, I think that will pretty much seal the deal. It all depends. I need to go out and shoot a low number tomorrow, whether the wind is blowing or not blowing. I've got to go out and fire 8-under-par and really get it moving because I'm expecting, you know, Rory or Vijay or Ernie to have a good round, even someone coming from behind. There's a lot of guys stacked up at 11, 10 and 9. I know if I want a chance to win, it's got to be a low round.

Q. What was the key to your spurt at the end? Adjusting to the greens?

JIM FURYK: I made really -- I think I started hitting it closer (laughter). Took the 15-footers out of play, got them in there. I hit it four feet on 14. I didn't make about a 15-footer on 15 up into the green. About four feet on 16. 18 I chipped it to about two feet. A lot of it was close putts. More than anything, kind of getting that first one to go. When you're even par, and I can feel myself out there, I'm pushing, trying hard. Hit it close on 10, missed it. I didn't birdie 9. Drove it through the fairway, got a bad lie. I'm out there, I know I'm pushing, trying hard, because I know I'm falling behind. I'm trying to make birdies. Hit it close on 10, missed it. It was really just kind of settling down, being patient, letting a couple putts go in. Once you get on a roll, it makes it that much easier.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, Jim.

JIM FURYK: Thanks a lot.

End of FastScripts....

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